A pair of osprey has made its first breeding attempt in the south of England in almost 200 years.
Conservationists are pleased that a pair of birds at Poole Harbor, Dorset, have produced an egg, which they guard in a nest in a secret location. Thanks to nesting cameras, viewers can watch the sea eagle incubate its egg on a livestream.
Birds of prey were once common throughout Western Europe, but due to human persecution and loss of habitat, they became extinct locally in the early 1800s. Their nests were historically plundered for their eggs, and the birds were shot to take dermi. Today, they are still regularly shot for sport in southern Europe.
Since 2017, experts at the Roy Dennis Foundation and Birds of Poole Harbor have been working to reintroduce them to the south of England by moving adult birds from Scotland. There is a breeding stock at Rutland Water in the Midlands, following a translocation program that began in 1996, and after decades of conservation efforts, there are now hundreds of ospreys in Scotland.
Paul Morton of Birds of Poole Harbor said: “Knowing that there is now a osprey egg in a Poole Harbor nest is just amazing. This is the culmination of seven years of hard work. Such projects will always take time, but it’s amazing. feeling to know that the birds have reached this important milestone and to see CJ7 hatch its first egg is amazing.
“There’s still a lot for both of them to learn as new parents, and breeding success is certainly not guaranteed. But everything we see at the moment looks really positive, and hopefully by the end of May we will start to see them feed. their newly hatched pups. “
It is hoped that the pair will produce two more eggs over the next week, and then a 35-40 day incubation period begins with the possibility of osprey hatching in late May.
The Port of Poole was chosen for the project because it has an abundance of fish that the birds can feed on. Ospreys from other parts of the UK have been known to pass through the harbor on their way to and from Europe on their migratory route, and they stop to hunt for mullets and flounder in the harbor’s large shallow canals and bays.
This pair flew to West Africa last fall and the Birds of Poole Harbor team faced a seven-month wait to see if they would return. The birds’ passage to Africa is fraught with dangers, including adverse weather conditions and illegal hunting. They both arrived earlier this month and have set out to breed.